Crazy Heart

Last night we went to see the film “Crazy Heart,” starring Jeff Bridges with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Colin Farrell. Bridges is fantastic playing Bad Blake, the self-destructive former country star who has long since gone on the skids. John Podhoretz writes about the performance of Bridges here; Hugh Hewitt writes about the film here. Director and screenplay author Scott Cooper provides a good interview here.
Blake’s character is a cross between Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson, with a pinch of Townes Van Zandt and Merle Haggard thrown in for good measure. Both Jennings and Van Zandt are honored with appearances in the film’s soundtrack, most of which features original music produced by T Bone Burnett and sung by Bridges and Farrell.
The film has already received several awards. I’m sure it has more in store, possibly including recognition for Ryan Bingham’s “The Weary Kind” (which won a Golden Globe). In the video below, Bridges and Farrell are filmed performing “Fallin’ and Flyin,” one of the movie’s on-screen musical highlights.

Burnett’s involvement in producing the film’s soundtrack harks back to the Coen Brothers’ “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” in which the music was also produced by Burnett. That film yielded an incredibly successful soundtrack recording. Against all odds, the soundtrack briefly moved bluegrass music out of the shadows and into the spotlight of American popular music for a moment, sending its performers (including Carter Ralph Stanley) on tour in a road show featuring the film’s music. By the same token, the soundtrack of “Crazy Heart” may momentarily return the late Waylon Jennings to the spotlight and raise the public’s awareness of Van Zandt’s work as well.

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